Build Your Custom “BOB”
As the saying goes, “Life Happens”. Disasters come in many shapes and sizes. Weather, fire, manmade ‘events’, accidents…the list can be lengthy. Being prepared is our best defense.
Having a bag at the ready to ‘grab n’ go’ ensures that we won’t be scrambling in an emergency to make sure we have essentials to take with us. “Bugging Out” is leaving our home for whatever reason; having a bag ready to ‘grab and go’ is prudent. These bags are commonly referred to as ‘Bug Out Bags’ aka ‘BOB’s’ – other names might be ‘GO bags’, ‘G.O.O.D. Bags’ ( aka Get Out Of Dodge bags), etc. This bag will look different for each of us. I have one bag for each family member, while some bags have have common items (socks & underwear) everyone’s is a little bit different, based on the person.
So, let’s get started. First off what exactly what are you using for your bag? You’ll want something strong and sturdy. We use Backpacks. I’ve known folks to use everything from a pillowcase, to shopping bag, to old military issue duffle bag to diaper bags. You choose what works for you and what fits your budget; as long as you get your bags done and ready. I happened upon a sale one year, after the traditional ‘back to school’ time frame and found some fairly sturdy little backpacks for $5.00 each. SCORE on the price and they serve their purpose. My husband has a really nice quality bug out backpack, that is SUPER sturdy, has tons of space, hidden pockets, hip supports, detachable packs and more; he is the strongest and carries the largest amount of supplies in his pack, therefore he gets the sturdiest pack. We went with backpacks because they are easier to handle, secure and carry in the long run. While I am of the mind that something is better than nothing, backpacks are the least cumbersome, most comfortable to carry and will work best for our family.
Once you have your bag selected, it’s time to figure out just what you’ll put in it. This is where it gets personal and unique, based on geographical location, medical & personal needs. If you are employing the use of this bag, you are leaving your home. Whatever the reason.
Your first task, when putting together your BOB’s, is to assess your threats. Why or what would make you leave your home? Let me give you an example. For us, our biggest natural disaster threat is wildfire. Knowing that if fire is heading our way, we will have to grab our bags and GO. What would I want to take with me? What would I NEED to take with me? That gives me a launch point to determine what goes in our bags. Knowing your threat, gives you a direction. I am not going to plan for a Tsunami or Hurricane; we just don’t have those. I do however keep in mind, that man made disasters have become a significant threat and we take that into account when packing our bags, based on our family discussions and plans we have in place. Give this some thought for your family as you plan what you will need in your BOB’s. You will want to think of necessities…and weight. Plan to be able to carry your bag for long stretches (this is why I think backpacks make the best BOB’s), not that you will just have to get it in the back of your truck.
The Basics for your BOB:
1 Extra set of clothing + extra socks & underwear
Water (bottles? mylar pouches? Both?) and / or filter such as a Lifestraw or Renovo (great for packs!)
Food (nuts, energy bars, freeze dried foods and meals)
Tarp and Paracord (shelter and hundreds of other uses!)
Waterproof matches/Lighter and tinder (Vaseline soaked cotton balls or dryer lint are great fire starter & fit perfectly in an old vitamin bottle or ziploc bag)
Bible,Flashlight, knife, soap, washcloth, TP, tin cup, spork, medicines and first aid kit
Once you have these very basic, foundational items in your pack you can branch out. What else is paramount?
I have a small family binder with all of our personal information, a zipper compartment with thumb drives of family pictures, contact information, etc. in my pack. What about a few extra books, toys or snacks in the packs of younger children? Firearms in the packs of adults? I keep a few bottles of essential oils in our first aid kit, they handle bugs, bug bites, cuts, scrapes, headaches, etc—all in a couple bottles.
Here is a list of other items to consider, to get you started:
- Sleeping Bag
- Fishing Kit
- Extra Batteries for Flashlight
- Hand Crank Emergency Radio
- Medical Supplies (Inhaler for Asthmatics, Insulin for Diabetics, etc.)
- Solo Stove
- Water Purification Tablets
- Rain Poncho
- Emergency Candle
- Small paper notebook / pen
- Deck of Cards
- Hand Wipes
- Solar Charger
- N95 Face Masks
- Survival Whistle
- Cash in small bills
This list could go on and on, but this gives you a good jumping off point to brainstorm what you would need as you plan and pack your BOB bags. I would highly suggest packing extra water and food, in case your emergency lasts longer than anticipated. I would also suggest, once you get these bags packed and in a ready to grab & go location, that you do not remove contents.
BOB’s need to be stored in a cool, dry location and easily accessible. I usually go through ours 2x a year and switch out clothing (kids tend to grow all too fast!) and check on the food and water—possibly rotating it out and adding new.
This project will take some time and thought. When I first got our backpacks, I didn’t have a lot of extra supplies on hand; but I was able to label each bag with colored bandanas (quick and easy identification for each person) and pack a full set of clothing. I was able to get all our our digital pictures onto a thumb drive and get that drive into a plastic ziploc bag and in my pack. It was a start! Then as I could, I built each bag, based on our lists of what we felt we would need.
This project will take some thought and planning, start today!